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Old 12-30-2014, 03:47 PM   #1
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Help my fish might die

i put rocks in to my aquarium from a lake. i didn't boil them just washed them off(stupid mistake) and now my ph went up to 8.4 from 7 and my nitrate is 40ppm. 140gallon tank. temp is 78 degrees. I'm freaking out they were in there for 3 days and i removed the rocks today and did a 50% water change but still the same levels. what can i do?
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Old 12-30-2014, 04:01 PM   #2
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When was the last WC and test ? You can do them with an hour wait in between (with no issues) to help get parameters back in check. What are you using for a test kit ? Going forward, I would use the vinegar method to check rocks in the future. Also some rocks shouldn't be boiled but I can't recall if the vinegar test will cover identifying that. On the other hand, there are lots of lakes here in CT to pick from.


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Old 12-30-2014, 05:28 PM   #3
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i put rocks in to my aquarium from a lake. i didn't boil them just washed them off(stupid mistake) and now my ph went up to 8.4 from 7 and my nitrate is 40ppm. 140gallon tank. temp is 78 degrees. I'm freaking out they were in there for 3 days and i removed the rocks today and did a 50% water change but still the same levels. what can i do?
Hello mike...

I doubt the rocks from a freshwater lake could do such a job on the tank chemistry in all that water in just 3 days. Did you fill the tank to the top with rocks? Retest the pH for starters and drop some vinegar on one of the rocks. If there's a reaction, don't use it. The water change was a good move. Half the tank water should be change weekly anyway, no matter how large the tank.

A nitrate level of 40 ppm isn't a reason for concern. Most aquarium fish are fine with a higher nitrate level for a short time. At worst, they'll feel a slight discomfort. Get some floating plants like Hornwort into the water. They'll help use the nitrates.

Start a more aggressive water change routine for a few weeks and see how the fish do. I doubt you've done any damage.

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Old 12-30-2014, 05:44 PM   #4
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Hello mike...

I doubt the rocks from a freshwater lake could do such a job on the tank chemistry in all that water in just 3 days. Did you fill the tank to the top with rocks? Retest the pH for starters and drop some vinegar on one of the rocks. If there's a reaction, don't use it. The water change was a good move. Half the tank water should be change weekly anyway, no matter how large the tank.

A nitrate level of 40 ppm isn't a reason for concern. Most aquarium fish are fine with a higher nitrate level for a short time. At worst, they'll feel a slight discomfort. Get some floating plants like Hornwort into the water. They'll help use the nitrates.

Start a more aggressive water change routine for a few weeks and see how the fish do. I doubt you've done any damage.

B

Most rocks shouldn't but a slight oversight I can fill you in on is CT is a limestone factory. That would greatly attribute to the dramatic rise in pH in such a short time, IMO.


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Old 12-30-2014, 07:04 PM   #5
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thank you ill get some of those plants and see what happens. and I'm using well water for my water change. and i did the change right before i tested the limits. any ideas on how to drop the ph to normal. thank you for your help its greatly appreciated
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Old 12-30-2014, 07:56 PM   #6
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thank you ill get some of those plants and see what happens. and I'm using well water for my water change. and i did the change right before i tested the limits. any ideas on how to drop the ph to normal. thank you for your help its greatly appreciated

Have you tested the well water ph so you know what the baseline ph is? Generally test straight away and then put out some well water in an open glass for 24hrs to let it de-gas, then test that to get true ph.

Limestone (calcite) could do the ph increase. Out of interest did you try the vinegar test? Vinegar is a weak acid so you may need to watch it carefully for bubbles. I try to find a little bowl / depression in the rock where I can put vinegar on and let it sit there as sometimes the reaction can be slow to start. Is the rock soft or very hard?
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:09 AM   #7
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Madmike, please don't ever boil rocks, that can end in disaster. You can pour hot water on them and also test/soak with vinegar. Boiling rocks can occasionally cause them to explode.
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:23 PM   #8
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after the rocks came out my ph went back to normal which is great but my nitrate is still high. i tested the well for nitrates and it has none and the ph of the well is around 7.0. no i didn't try the vinegar i ended up throwing the rocks away before i could do it. i usually do a water change every 2 weeks but now ill do it every week to hopefully help lower my nitrate levels. should i add water conditioner to when i do my water changes. my well has no chlorine so i didn't know if i should it?
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:37 PM   #9
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Hey madmike,
I would suggest doing water changes every week regardless. I always use the dechlorinater just as a safety precaution even if the water isn't chlorinated but it may be redundant. I figure better safe than sorry. Additionally, there are more things in water than just chlorine - chloramines and toxic metals could be present which are also addressed by water conditioners as well.
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